Monday, March 10, 2014

Simple Minds - Life In a Day

This month marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of Life In a Day, the debut album from the Scottish rock band Simple Minds. This 1979 release peaked at number 30 on the UK charts.

Side one starts with "Someone". This high energy tune about an optimistic young woman features a blend of squealing synths and guitars.

The title track "Life In a Day" was also the first single; it peaked at number 62 in the UK. I like how the layers are built with each iteration of the opening instrumental hook.

"Sad Affair" shifts back to a rocking up-tempo rhythm, complete with a bit of a clap-along component to the verses and a saxophone solo.

"All For You" swirls about like haunting nightmare, pulling you deep into a dream world.

The opening of "Pleasantly Disturbed" reminds me a little bit of the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever". The rest of the eight minute song, the album's longest, is dark and twisted. Charlie Burchill's violin adds appropriately to the mood.

Side two begins with "No Cure". The music and the vocals remind me a bit of the Los Angeles band Sparks who started recording in the early 70's.

The second single was "Chelsea Girl". I like the contrast of the keyboards with the guitars here; they play off one another in an interesting way.

"Wasteland" features another rapid guitar riff that quickly pulls the listener in for a wild ride.

"Destiny" is up next.

The album then closes with the dark and dizzying "Murder Story".

I got to know Simple Minds through their early-to-mid 80's music, so this late 70's debut was all new to me with this review. First impression: this hardly sounds like the same band I knew. Second impression: I rather like this side of the group. It reminds me a lot of the days where 70's glam and punk were opening up to 80's new wave. Life In a Day sort of straddles those lines. If you have not heard this one before, I recommend you pop over to Spotify and check it out. It might just end up on your "to buy" list like it has for me.

For 1982's New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84), click here.

For 1984's Sparkle In the Rain, click here.